Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Out of My Control

Around last August, I started thinking about what my upcoming summer would look like. I prayed about it and found myself thinking about what the Lord could have in store for me. I had contacted a few of the leaders from my past summers serving with World Changers. I was told that I'd be perfect for a job with them. I knew it was a long interview process, but I was up for it. I prayed about that a lot, because I didn't want to apply based off of my excitement, I really wanted to feel led to apply; and I did. So I applied.

Later on in the month I reconnected with a friend from Jeff State, Michael Howard. We began talking about summer plans and he said I should apply to work for Student Life. I had only done it once as a 7th grader, but knew great things about it. I remember scrolling past it one day when I was on the computer looking up camps. I remember thinking, "It's probably too late." So I didn't think about it until he brought it up. After that phone call, it was very heavy on my heart. It was on my mind so much so I lost sleep over it. I got butterflies thinking about working for them. Weird reaction I know, but I couldn't get it out of my mind. So I said that after Passion, I'd apply if I felt led to. I ended up applying. I was kinda confused about why I was applying for both, but He knew what He was doing. 

I had my WC's and SL's interviews back to back. One on Monday and one on Tuesday in January. WC's was up first. It went very well and I informed them that I wasn't trying to hide anything, just trying to seek out the Lord's Will for me, so I informed them of my interest in Student Life. I asked them to please pray for discernment and if they didn't feel 100% about me, then to let me go. They appreciated my honesty. I appreciated the Lord giving me the peace I did about the situation. So then I had my Student Life interview. I went to their office in Hoover and sat in the waiting room. I became nervous and felt those dead gum butterflies in my stomach once again. Not cool. "Lindsey Tillman?" They called my name and I walked into a glass room. It paralleled my thinking about how they were about to see straight threw me. I thought, "I hope they like what they see." Satan was playing his usual game with me; throwing doubts about myself into my mind. I recognized it and shut him down real quick and said a prayer in my head. I asked for an honest spirit and a calmness to come over me. Almost instantly, I felt at home. 

I was interviewed by 2 Student Life staffers. I loved every question that they had for me. I was able to truly show them my passion for the Lord and ministry through living missionally. Some questions, I was very open about how something may not be my strength and how other things were. I hadn't had an interview like that really ever, but it was cool to see my true growth so apparent to me. Before, like when I was 18 or 19, I'd find myself exaggerating things to others. It be awesome in my mind but in order to convey that to them, I felt like I had to stretch it a little bit in order for them to get it, when really that was just, once again, Satan throwing those thoughts of "not being enough" into my mind. In my interview I stated to them that I had also applied for WC's. I also told them that if they didn't feel 100% right about me, to not hire me. I needed to have guidance from God through them. I was told I'd here something the first week of March. Dang. I'm not very good at waiting.....

As I walked out the door, I felt so confident. I knew that if I wasn't hired, then it was simply God directing me elsewhere, because I was as honest as possible and spoke in a way that was glorifying to Him. Then the waiting game started. With Student Life it's one interview, and then that interview get recorded and shown to the whole staff and prayers start going up for guidance. With World Changers, you go through many cuts. I was informed on my first interview that there were 136 applicants who were applying for my position. They only had 16 spot available. Gulp. Are you serious? Yeahhhh. Hello intimidation, how are you?

Well I made the first cut with World Changers and was contacted for another interview. I was so excited. I continued praying very hard for the outcome to be God's Will. My second interview went great, and ended with an offer. I was stunned. I said the same thing to them. If they were not 100% sure then don't. Well they said I had the week to think about it. That week I really prayed and thought on it a lot. I never felt like there was a "con", but a very tangible uncertainty. I had peace about it. I emailed WC's Sunday night and thanked them for the opportunity to work for them, but I need to back out. As I hit the send button, I felt kinda numb. Kinda like a "did I just turn down my dream job?" feeling. About 2 days later came that peace I'd been searching for. 

As the days went on, Student Life was seeming out of reach. As if I'd never hear back from them. I really doubted I'd get an offer. Like a "you're a great girl, but...." email. I knew it was coming. I was sick of waiting, so I took matters into my own hands. I picked up my phone and Brad Gowing came to mind. He is the Recreation Minister at the church I grew up at. We'd become very close over the past year that he's been working there. I thought he was my guy. I just needed to lay everything out on the table and talk it out. So that's what I did. I went over to his office and had what I like to call, a "word vomit" session. Not the best choice of words, but hey it's my story. Anyways..... He and I started talking. He asked me why had I wanted World Changers in the first place. I told him that I had finally hit an age where I wanted people over me to expect much of me. I wanted responsibility and to have authority. Then he asked the same thing about Student Life. I went on to talk about the great opportunity to continue my discipleship there while also being able to be on a team of lots of people, and getting to pour into the students. Right as I was talking, I had an idea. I asked him if he could see me in a higher position for Day Camp. DC is a camp run by my home church in the summers. I grew up going and have been a counselor since I was a freshman in high school. I feel like I know the ins and outs of DC, like most students my age who grew up the same way. He said he could and he thought I'd fill that spot wonderfully. As we talked he said he'd have to figure out what that would look like, but that I had a spot. I was thrilled! I felt true peace as I left that building. That night, I sat down and email Student Life telling them to not consider me anymore for the job. I went on to say that I wasn't really sure how this home town thing popped up, but it looked promising, so I said I'd pray for them and thanked them for such a great interview.

Oh hey midterms week! They were here. I felt as if I studied for 2 weeks straight! AH! At the same time I was able to balance a good quiet and prayer time within my busy days. Thursday, February 28th, I took my last midterm. It was my hardest one yet. After taking it, I felt so proud. I knew I did well, and was so glad I made studying a major priority this time around! Getting back to my dorm, went to go check my email. What was looking me dead in the face? An email titled STUDENT LIFE STAFFER. Eh? I opened it and there it was. In big bold letters. They wanted me. Even after my email telling them no. I was prayerfully considered for months, and I was ranked as a 1 on their priority list. I was blown away. I knew they had made a mistake so I emailed right back telling them thank you but no thank you. Right as I sent it, that numb feeling wasn't there. I was now questioning myself. I went down the hall to talk to one of my sisters, Mechay, who has worked for SL for now going on 3 years. She rooms with Anna Beth who just applied for her first time as well. We talked and I told her what was going on. 

She asked me why I wanted to turn them down in the first place. I said that I wanted to spend time with my family this summer, and not be gone the whole time. I wanted to enjoy going through all the fun and crazy recruitment workshops with my awesome Phi Mu sisters, and I didn't want to miss my family reunion. Mechay asked to look at the email. As she read it she said I needed to call the lady who emailed me. I called and I found myself in tears. Through lots of prayer, they felt led to put me in the one month team and didn't know why. Meaning I'd only be gone from May 20th- June 26th. I would get to spend time with my family, go to my family reunion, and do the workshops. Are you serious? It all came together and made sense. I cried as I told my parents that the Lord had literally rolled out the red carpet for me. Then it hit me. I was trusting him. I, LINDSEY MARIE TILLMAN, WAS TRUSTING GOD! Finally! I looked back and saw a theme. All I wanted was His peace. I wanted His Will. I wanted to please Him. Looking back, I was stunned by my growth. 

I talked to my parents and they both said things that were very affirming and they wanted me to go for it! I text Brad and he had the same reaction. They were all thrilled for me. I told Blair to disregard the email I had sent her, and put a YES by my name. I was soooo thrilled. More so than any other time through this journey. I was told that even though I said no to them, they still wanted me. I was what they needed. I was their girl. It felt so amazing to know that such an amazing group of people chose me. Everything was always out of my control, but the Lord was testing my trust in him. And looking back and seeing how much you have changed, is the best feeling in the world. I serve a God who has my future in his hand. Who orchestrates the best outcome for me if I just trust him. So glad to be at the end of this journey and on the verge of starting a new one. Thank you Jesus! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sickling Turned Social Worker with No Regrets

Since I was young, I always remember myself being sick. I caught everything known to man. I also started having many headaches as a child that continue in my life now. Due to the fact that I was always sick, I would miss a lot of school. This would lead to me being made fun of and being referred to as "the girl that is never here". You can imagine the devastating role that played in my life. The depression that came from the teasing made me sicker and more prone to things. If you are unaware of the symptoms of depression, then you may not get it. In 5th grade mine started and continued through high school. It played a big part of the fact that when I got home from school, I just wanted to go to bed. This isn't normal for kids.

As a senior in high school I had kinda grown out of it, but still struggled with illness. I took the facts into consideration when applying for college. I decided to stay home and attend a community college for 2 years. I thought it may help with transition, and we'd be able to possibly find out why I was sick and mainly flat exhausted all the time. After my first year, sickness had gone down, but headaches had increased. That summer I was planning on going to Alaska to do mission work up there, so we headed to a Neurologist. I was given pills to take everyday. There were huge and the bottle was as big as my head. See below. I wish I would have kept the bottle for laughs. HA!

So I took them for the wholeeeeeee summer. It was very annoying. When I came back, they wanted to do a blood test. When my doctor walked back into the room, he had a puzzled look on his face. He told me that my metabolic number should be at 250, but it was at 19, meaning that my blood was metabolizing my medicine so quickly that it had no time to reach the source. 

ANSWER #1: The reason I was getting sick so much was because my medicine was never strong enough to reach the source, therefore I'd get a little better and catch something else because my body didn't have any antibiotics to fight them off. Mind blown.

After that they sent me back to my primary to do lots of general test that they had never done on me. Why? I wasn't sure. Test after test and we got some results. She walked back into my room with the results and she said she was stunned. My B12 levels were so low that if I had been 4 points lower, I would have been admitted. B12 deficiency is the root of a lot of things:

-Continued illness
-Chronic Headaches
-Tired all the time

ANSWER #2: Oh hello there Mr. B12 deficiency. Check all of those and called me crazy, but I had every single one of those symptoms.

It has been an interesting road. The reason I wanted to blog about this today is because I've been in the bed all day. I emailed my college professors and told them why I wouldn't be in class. It's been getting worse week by week for 4 weeks now. 

I was talking to my friend, Audrey, about my life with this. It has never controlled me, but it has made me miss out on a lot of things. My friends in high school never understood and would just tell me I needed to come to school. I would have loved to have just been able to do that; but I wasn't. Now 3 years out of high school and we have found out why I am the way I am, and I can say that if I would have had teachers who cared, I think I would have been more motivated to fight. We need more teachers who are willing to understand that I wasn't missing school because I didn't want to come, I was missing school because I was sick and nobody could figure out why, so it was easy to point the finger at me and say I was the problem. 

Praise the Lord, because He works all things together for good for those who love Him. He used those thoughts I had of always feeling like the underdog, like I wasn't worth fighting for, and turned them into me having a passion to fight for those people and kids in this world who are. I could not be prouder and more excited about the fact that in just a few years, I'm going to get to fight for people in vulnerable situations and show them that they are worth it. 

I know this story was a long one, but it's part of me and who I am today. It's only recently that I looked back and realized that I may not have such a passion for this kind of work had I not faced those trials. Now, are they the same compared to the ones I'm going to be working with? Probably not, but nonetheless, it's what brought me to this place. I'm happy. Even on a day like today when I'm having to be popping B12 like candy. I'm happy because I know what great work lies in front of me. So don't regret your past. Ask God to reveal to you why you went through what you did, and I promise he'll show you. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dear Franny.

Dear Franny, I wonder what you have been doing in heaven for 3 weeks now. I can only imagine the great delight you are finding there. Your every desire is being fulfilled. Oh how I long for heaven. At your funeral, we played "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe. I can't help but cry in joy in the fact that you are dancing in fields of splendor, in awe of God in His fullness. I can picture you now how you worshiped. It was so pure, not for show, only for your Father.

Last November I went to "Secret Church" and it was on suffering and death. Thank God for it because it's helped me cope with you not being here. Genie, Molly, Abbie, Hallie, and I are so sad to have lost you. We are all still mourning and taking day by day. I just want to see you and I know that's so selfish, but I'm pretty sure Jesus understands. Sitting in my dorm, I look around and you are in 3/4 of them. Your prefect hair that I was always jealous of, your sweet smile, but most of all I remember your hugs. The way you embraced people. You had a version of the "Mamma Jill" hug. You know the one that you could feel in your toes. It's made the world stop being so crazy for just those few seconds. I miss that. I miss our talks about our longing for revival and our passion to just serve Jesus. 

Life will not be the same without you. I delight in the confidence that we all have about where you now reside. Through your death many people came to a greater understanding of just how short life is. You have moved hearts to turn to the Lord. Christ is being glorified. I know you would have wanted that. I will leave you with this. At my sister's wedding rehearsal dinner I read a poem by e.e. cummings. As I came across it last night it brought me to tears because it is so true of our group of girls, now young ladies. I love you for eternity and you will always be my best friend.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

-e.e. cummings

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Franny Is Home

When the clock strikes 1 am, it'll be the one week mark of the worst phone call of my life. Hearing the voice of my friend James tell me that our best friend had past away was the most awful moment of my life. While screaming and repeating her name into the phone, I went into shock. The next 30 minutes from then are vague. So writing this is helping me piece things together.

My tears were coming from a place so deep that my insides shook. I kept thinking, "No, not Franny. Franny was invisible, always there, and couldn't be...." With my whole body shaking a managed to call my friend Michael. He answered and I was just saying, "Do you know, do you know?!" He'd been walking around his campus for a while just praying and mourning over the loss of such a dear friend. I needed to see someone from our group of friends to calm me down. So my roommate drove me to meet him. We sat for 45 minutes lifting up the McLemore's, extended family, and our group.

This group I am speaking of has been constant since middle school. Franny, Abbie, Genie, Hallie, Molly, and myself, along with a handful of boys that have now shown me what men they have grown up to be.

Sitting there with Michael, we decided that I needed to pack up and go home for the week. There was no way I could focus on anything else except being as close to the tangible things that Franny had left behind as I could. At 2:30 am, we drove back to Montevallo, I packed my things, and drove completely numb back to Hoover.

My parents met me in the den and wept as I told them what had happened to "our" Franny. Everyone who ever grew a relationship with Franny came to claim her as theirs because there was only one. She was it. Getting into bed at 3:15 am, sleep was not in my future. I had so much pain due to not only the obvious, but the fact that James wasn't able to get in contact with Genie and Molly. I had to call them, both like sisters to Franny.

Before ever getting into contact with both of them, I started receiving messages on Facebook from women who had seen my post about losing my best friend. Calling them and telling them that it wasn't only my friend, but both of ours, broke them. In the hours to come, many more people were calling in complete shock. Then my phone was beeping as I was talking to a mother and the caller ID read "Molly Byrom". My heart sank. After telling her, I felt her heart breaking. Us girls, like sisters, had lost a part of ourselves. Then telling Genie was another blow. I knew we just wanted to mourn with each other. Being spread out at Auburn and Alabama, and then me here at UM, I just wanted to snap and be with them so we could weep together.

Then Mary Catherine, Franny's childhood best friend and one of the "3 musketeers" consisting of her, myself, and Fran, was calling. At her request I drove to her house and we were able to sit and mourn. The Lord made us both with a need to take care of people in times like this. So we decided to go over to Franny's and ask if we should stay or go, being willing to do anything they said. Before we could get to the door, Mr. McLemore walked out, grabbed us both, and ministered to us by "fathering" us right there. He said please come in. We wanted to know what we could do and thankfully they didn't hold back and said what can you do. I think in my humanness just wanted to fix it. Everything. Go find Franny pulling a prank, and everything would be okay again. Apparently that's not how it works.

I've never needed tangible things in order to cope because I've never been through something like this. I asked if I could go upstairs. With their permission I went and laid on her bed and cried till I felt I couldn't cry anymore, and then more tears came. In her room, she stored all of her old notes from class. Organic Chemistry was like Music 101 to most of us. I ran my hand over her notes as if the more things of hers that I touched would make her become more real to me in that moment. Scanning over 112's, 106's, and more high grades that had never come into contact with my tests were all around. She was a genius, everyone knew that. I sat in that room in took in as much as I could while Mary Catherine and I put together the slide show and playlist for the funeral. All Franny's favorites of course.

The McLemore's told me that some of the men on staff were traveling to Auburn that night to see the "Dawsonites" that were also mourning with the devastating news. Mary Catherine and I tagged along and felt honored that Shelton, Franny younger sister, a senior in high school, wanted to come. So we went. Franny didn't just have acquaintances, she had a relationship with everyone. With that in mind we told Shelton that she was going to get just a taste of how many people not only loved Franny, but through Franny loved her and the rest of the family. When we got there I just wanted to see my girls. Abbie and Hallie were on my mind. You can imagine the mass of Dawson Alum that showed up as the clock struck 9 pm in front of Samford Hall. Seeing each other made us cry, but being together was so comforting. No one was alone in their grief. I saw Hallie first while we were eating. When I hugged her I felt a sense of peace. When we are with each other, I think we all feel that way. It's a safe place and feels like home.

After dinner we walked over to Samford Hall and waited on that mass of people. They came, oh they came. Then I saw Abbie. She was limp and just leaned into me. Her arms were too weak by her grief to wrap them around me; so I just hugged her tighter. Seeing our boys, now men, weep and try and be strong for us was inspiring. Once they saw Shelton they each scooped her up into a hug that would make on-lookers cry. We gathered up to pray and Pearson and James started to lead us; both like brothers to Franny. Their prayers were inspiring and spurred on many other prayers lifting up the McLemore's, friends, and anyone who ever came into contact with Franny's beautiful heart.

Leaving was hard, but we were all weary. Knowing Mary Catherine and I had to head back the next day to do things made us really pray for sleep, not only for ourselves, but everyone being hit with this tragedy. Hitting my pillow at midnight was the ending of 40 hours straight of no sleep. The Lord was sustaining all of us. Bright and early we headed to Auburn to do some of the "must-dos". First, finding Franny's car and bringing it back to the apartment. Second, we had to go and pack up some of her belongings the the McLemore's needed for the funeral. Walking into her room hit me like a brick wall. She had to be here. Her closest was full of everything that reminded me of Franny. From the infinity scarf that she had stolen from me the year before in dirty Santa, to the shirt she wore to my birthday party. It was all there. Her Ecuador bracelets, pictures of the girls, and her countless school books. She had to be there. In that moment I realized that she is in heaven where nothing that we build up here matters. She is basking in the Lords presence, and all of this stuff that reminded us of Franny was left here.
Last we had to head to the police station to pick up the things that were found with her. That just didn't seem real. It couldn't be. After that we went to see the flag being flown in her honor by Samford Hall and headed home. I cried almost the whole ride back. Going through her bible and the notes she had made about loving Jesus reaffirmed my spirit about where her home was now.

Us girls had been messaging and had planned to all spend the night at Molly's the night before the funeral so we could be together to mourn, but also to share laughs about memories through pictures and stories. Erin Carroll joined us. She has always been our counselor for everything. Growing up in Dawson we claimed her early on and never let go. She housed us for multiple trips to Auburn, led us through dark times of struggled, rejoiced with us at our best, and stuck with us through everything. She came to share stories, comfort us, but also lead us in one of the most spirit filled prayers I've ever witnessed.

Our heads hit the pillow at 12:30 am and once again we prayed for rest because we had a big day ahead of us. Getting to the church the next morning and watching the guys roll her in was a moment that is slowed in my mind. I didn't hold back my tears, and I didn't have to because those guys were my brothers. Walking into the sanctuary was amazing. The whole front covered in flowers, but the key colors were the best; orange and blue. Franny's passion and love for Auburn was so evident. We had brought Auburn to Dawson. When I saw her, I touched her. I didn't think I would even want to, but in that moment I wanted to be a near to her as I could. Walking with my girls through that line was comforting. While we stood and watched the countless photos of us all with Fran, we cried. Her favorite songs played over the speakers. Her presence was there.

Getting up to the front where the McLemore's were, they continued to minister to us. Loving on us and comforting us because they didn't underestimate the relationship we all had with her because they were witnesses to it. Sleepovers, cookouts, birthday parties, and random stops by proved our mutually love; Franny's with us and our individual and group relationship with her.

At 12 pm Chapel Choir alum headed to the choir room to practice "Draw Me Nearer", Franny's favorite Chapel Choir song. Knowing we were all going to need to Lord for strength, I'm pretty sure everyone in the room shot up a prayer asking for grace. As we walked in the whole sanctuary was packed. Our grade laid a purple rose on her now closed casket. The 5 of us girls were placed on the front row all together. We were all so drained, but the Lord was going to come through for all of us. Mr. Bonovitch spoke of Franny's favorite verses marked in her bible. When he got to Proverbs 17:17 he turned to the choir and said, "A friend loves at ALL times." Franny was a great example of that. She never failed at loving her friends. It came time to sing and once again I repeated the words, "Jesus, strength." He gave it. It sounded beautiful. Right when the sound builds, I felt my heart smile and cry at the same time. The moment when I opened my mouth to sing the best verse of all, I wept. "There are depths of love that I can not know till I cross the narrow sea. There are heights of joy that I may not reach till I rest in peace with Thee." When they rolled her away I didn't have words. I just grabbed the hands of Hallie and Molly and cried with them as we watched our best friend leave the sanctuary.

In the days that have followed, our group has been constantly checking on each other. Franny would have wanted this to make us all realize how precious our friendships with one another are. So we aren't going to let her down.

Some may think that writing this was pointless or disturbing to relive. But for me it's another step of coping. I never want to forget any detail because this situation has brought me to a place of God's love and comfort that I've never experienced. Franny is finally resting in the arms of her Savior and in heaven. She and I had talked about the craving that we both had for our Daddy. Her's has always been there. Mine began in Alaska, and she was so excited when I started craving it. Just God's presence was so pleasing to us. Now she is free of worry, earthly matters, and she is getting to witness the already 2 salvation's because of her life. She was a blessing to everyone she came into contact with. I'm looking forward to seeing her one day. Genie, Hallie, Abbie, Molly, and myself will one day not only be finally with our Savior, but we will be with Franny, our best friend.

You will be missed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Busy Day Confessions and Revelations

College. Sorority. Clubs. Family. Friends. Oh and then God of course. Confession. I'm awful at making my first priority my relationship with God. Sometimes as Christians we overlook where Satan can work. It's subtle, but it's devastating to the soul.


Yep. It's that simple. It can quickly be put into the hands of the enemy to use against us in a vicious cycle. Let me explain. 

So you start doing well in classes and studying a lot (which is GREAT!), oh one of your friends needs tutoring, of course you'll do it. Plus you're in a few on campus clubs, you know, all great things. "Mmmmhh, when can I do my quiet time?" you think to yourself. "Well I need to get a goodnight sleep so getting up early wouldn't be a good time, and I'm so tired at night after I stalk Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, so that won't work." After a good week of that and BOOM! It hits you. Welcome to that awful draining feeling that, as Beth Moore would call it, a pit. Now there are some pits you can get thrown into, but with me I walk right in. If that's not a confession, the I don't know what is. With great intentions, we sometimes find ourselves face to face with the heartache of a spiritual drought. 

I grew up in church, as most of you know. I became a Christian in 7th grade, but never encountered my Father until the summer that I turned 19 in the state of Alaska. Up until that point I had a great desire for the Lord, but I sat around and became a slave to what looked to be great things, but then found myself being defined by them. To give you a visual, it was almost like I sat in my perfect little house, in my perfect little room, with my hands open, just waiting on God to sprinkle "holy dust" on me and then that's when I'd have a wonderful deep walk with Him. I didn't have a desire to do the work. It was in Alaska when I realized that my human nature tried to fill that God shaped void with a little bit of God, then tried to fill the rest with food, church attendance, my babysitting reputation, and people pleasing. It was crushing to my spirit-man to see how weak he really was. 

After being here at Montevallo for only month and a half, I have realized something else. My friends, mentors, families I babysat for, Dawson staff, everyone that I surrounded myself with was so dense with the Holy Spirit. I give, give, give, pour out, and pour out some more. I don't live in a place where I'm being filled with the Holy Spirit the way I was in B'ham. It's hard. Not going to lie. Now, I LOVE my roommate and suite mates and in their own ways they are teaching me so much. They are so precious, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that it's a bit draining living on my hall. Not because of the girls, but because of the lack there of the Holy Spirit. Each and every girl is so special to me and God, and I know He put me here to be a light. (I have a bible study group which will have their own blog post. So it's coming soon!)

So as I sit here, blogging in a laundry room, I ask that you intercede on my behalf. I ask that you pray for continued strength. The Lord has done so many things right before my eyes that have almost brought me to tears then, but made me weep with joy in my quiet times. He has brought so many girls right to my door. Just last night, 3 girls brought up Passion and after me talking just a bit about it, they were wanting to go. PRAISE GOD! He has proven to me if I just ask, He'll bring them to me. I desire for these beautiful young ladies to know the wonderful love that lies within a passion-filled, intimate relationship with Christ. 

If there is one thing I could say to a new Christian, or a non Christian at that, it's this. The day you ask the Lord into your heart, not with some prayer conducted or a repeat me line, but a sincere cry out to the God of all creation to come make a home in your heart and renovate it to look more like Jesus', that day is the most important day of your life. But don't think it's going to wash all your problems away and your perfect Christian spouse is going to come slow-mo running to you through a field of barley. STOP! Let me remind you that this whole Jesus thing is the most powerful, loving, heart changing, mind blowing experience. But it's a life style change; key word CHANGE. You will have your trials, oh buddy will you have them. So here's what I have to tell you; this is a FIGHT FOR HOLINESS. Through all of the candy coated Jesus Christianise junk you may hear, take this to heart. We sit here and are stumped to the fact that we don't know why we aren't growing in our faith. I am so guilty of this. We sit back and read our little devotionals and the little excerpts of a scripture, we pray that the Lord bless our day, and we're off. 

Now class, can anyone tell me what is wrong with the picture?

We need to open our bibles and ask for the Holy Spirit to lead us into wisdom and discernment to gain spiritual power from the spoken Word of God and not lean on our Pastors so much for spiritual depth. We need to go into our prayer closets, on our faces and pray, through distraction and fleeting attentions, that our hearts would break for what breaks the heart of our Savior. We need to pray for the molding and transforming of our minds. We need to break out of our little cliques of friends and realize that there are precious people around us that will burn in Hell because they've never asked the Lord to be their Savior. Step into reality and realize you weren't put here by God to be fulfilled with your human desires, but to be an instrument to quench the desire of our Heavenly Father.

OK, I'm done.

All I'm saying is that you are not your own. You are the Lord's. It is our duty to seek Him through whatever we may be going through. He doesn't ask for us to come to Him in perfection, He just asks for us to come. Broken, burdened, bruised, and sore. When we push aside our guilt and failure that Satan tries to hold us down by, we are able to truly claim the victory that we freely have in Christ. I know that I'm pretty sure Satan has my name on a dart board in Hell and is constantly throwing everything my way. I look forward to the day that I will be sitting on my white horse, along with all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, and we will be the audience of God finally ending the life of Satan. Then we'll all live happily ever after. Literally. 

If you know the Lord, then find peace in that. Know that one day we will be together in Heaven and will worship in unison our Father forever. 

If you don't know the Lord, I ask that this post would encourage you to talk to someone. You can contact me or a local church. The Lord "wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:4.

I will leave you with this. Once we finally understand how unworthy we are to receive salvation, but ask God to help to except the grace, mercy, and love He freely offers, it is then that we can accept our salvation for what it is and truly live in the way Christ intended us to. Much love to all of you. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

He Is Faithful

Ahhhh, after months of being consumed in my busy life, I'm finally sitting down to blog, mainly to catch myself up with what God has done, but to allow you to join in on the ride. I love having these times to write out more details to my walk. It keeps me focused on the journey. OK, so where do I start....

I'll start with my summer plans. After living in Alaska last summer there is nothing more I wanted to do than to go back. A part of my heart is still there, but earlier in January I knew that this was not my summer to go back. I was heartbroken, but because I wanted to be in God's Will completely, I had a peace about it. I started looking more into NAMB again. I prayed for certain things and I applied for a spot in Montana. I prayed for months and kept getting an uneasy feeling about it. Well in early spring my family got the news that my oldest brother would be having to serve 8 months for the Air Force. I knew I had to step in and be the helper this summer for my sweet sister-in-law. So I emailed NAMB and told them I couldn't go to Montana after I'd be accepted. A few weeks down the road I found out that things weren't discussed as much as I thought they were and a girl from their church picked up the hours that she needed help. So at this point I'm questioning what I'm going to do this summer. I knew that there was no way God wanted me to go back and work Dawson Day Camps. I worked them every summer through high school and knew He had to have bigger and better things for me. Oh how He likes to humble His children. He did just that. You are looking at Dawson's oldest girl staffer for this summer! Yay? I knew I had tried ever other avenue so I must be here for a reason. Right again. I could go on about the faithfulness God showed me throughout this summer, but I had an amazing summer pouring into Dawson kids, but they mostly poured into me.

I will have to say a highlight to my summer was a reunion beach trip with my wonderful Alaskan team. Once again, God doesn't stop the work He has started in you. Through that trip He overjoyed me with the delight of Him continuing to reveal that daily He is renewing my mind to be more like that of Christ. I could talk for days about this, but here's our family photo minus Garrett (Swiss) and Joshua (Motz), plus random owner of this ice cream shop on St. George Island.

Let's back up to March. In March I decided that I wanted to transfer out of Jeff State in the fall. One college was on my mind; Samford. I applied, got in, and was so ready to start! I knew I was a Bulldog! Well one day at the end of April I came down to my parents room and they were pacing around the room and talking to me about things. They started to tell me that they both felt like I really needed to think about Samford. Through lots of talking they both said they felt uneasy about it. Why? They didn't know. So randomly my mom asks if I had looked at the University of Montevallo. I was so angry that she would even ask me such a thing. She knew I was set on Samford. Out of resentment I asked for their credit card and I'd send my transcript in. I think smoke was coming from my ears. I was trying the whole "don't sin in your anger" thing, which is hard, so I decided to be silent for the whole day (crazy I know!) in order to process things. I knew that if UM was where I was supposed to go that the Lord would have to change my heart.

5 hours later I sat at the top of the stairs in almost tears as I told my parents UM was my college. Expecting an "I told you so" I was surprised that my dad was taken back by my decision. It's like for the first time it had hit him that I actually love his advice and place it so much higher than anyone else's. So on May 1, my 20th birthday, we drove down to Montevallo and took a tour. During my tour I just knew I was supposed to go here. I couldn't tell you why, but My Father was putting a desire in my heart for this campus that had never been there. I loved it, was accepted, and it was final! I'M A FALCON! Upon applying for housing I had many options. I chose to live in Main. A freshmen girls dorm. People ask why when I tell them. I had my reasons. I wanted to use my influence with 18 year old girls. So starting in May I began praying for my roommate and suite mates. The Lord provided 3 wonderful girls that I have bonded with. I continue to see His faithfulness in the little things. 

Now, I was pouring out myself in my living situation so where was I going to be filled? I found an on campus ministry called Ecclesia real quick and plugged right in. Through it I'm also in a upperclassmen girls bible study. That could take up another page alone, but let me just ensure you that the Lord has brought me to my knees with those girls. The things we've discussed have brought me closer to the heart of God. Just last night, our simple 8pm bible study turned into a 5 hours Christ-fill, fruit making, heart beckoning conversation! Oh praise God for fellow sisters that desire the face of God! The Lord has just shown off His beauty by providing me such a loving group of Godly girls to fellowship with. 

I also decided since Montevallo would be my school, I'd rush. I went into it with a very open mind and God brought me to the sisterhood for me. I'm a Phi Mu and looking forward to all the great things this year is going to hold for all of us. I'm the oldest new member with has advantages, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to grow even more as I'm surrounded by great ladies. 

So that's been my life for the past few months. I'm really liking it here. I'm a little later in starting my journey into college, but I'm in God's timing and that's all the assurance I need. More than ever I'm pouring myself out. Yes, the pictures are great and I can whip up an awesome Facebook status, but it's not always the way it looks. I'm really learning to study and that's no fun. I tell the girls on my hall which refer to me as the "hall mom", that I feel like the 30 year old going back to school. I've had a taste of college and I know that if you don't do the work and fight, you won't get the grade. 

Overall it's been great. But if we're being honest, I've had days when I've felt like nothing more than just another unrighteous child begging for mercy at the feet of God. When I feel emotionally drained, physically tired, or just in a bad mood, my mind tends to think that God is bringing this on me. How do I realize that God wants me to beckon to Him when I am weary?  That goes along with the whole transforming of the mind thing. So this is a season that I'm learning to cling to Him and not run. He isn't mad at me. I have to keep telling myself that when the voice of Satan comes into play. I am fighting from victory, not for it. I heard a good analogy the other day. Remember the kid in middle school that was older than you and always picked on you. He was in the same grade as your brother. They both played football and because your brother was better than him the boy instantly hated you? Yeah. So that's how Satan attacks us. We look like the one who shamed him and has victory over him and that's why we are under attack. Good one, I know. I'm praying in expectation that the Lord is going to do more mighty things this year in and through me. Amen. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

His Timing Is Perfect

 "God's beloved; 
God's permanent residence. 
   Encircled by God all day long, 
      within whom God is at home."
Deuteronomy 33:12
Over the past week, I found myself looking back at my blogs from Alaska. I found this verse buried in the middle of one of my post and found it to bring back the same feeling I had when I first read it. Reading through all of them I praise God for the major work that He did in my life, but most importantly, my heart. 

The Lord's timing is perfect. When we question it, it means our faith is being shaken. While in Alaska I discovered a lot of bitterness and hurt from something that happened my senior year of high school. I had swept it in the back of my mind and let it continue to have a stronghold in my life. Yesterday, 2 years after leaving these people I ran into them. I found closure. After 20 minutes of talking and laughing, I felt God's smile and loving touch. I heard him saying, "Learn to wait for my timing, because I will bless you. Patience my child." Throughout the rest of dinner I was speechless and in awe, almost to tears. We are God beloved and He will do what is best for us if we would just surrender in every part of our life. I know most of us can say this and give other people this same advice, but are we taking a hold of it in our lives? Are we daily seeking His face? Are we leaning to much on what we think to be right, or are we asking God to invade our minds with His grace and mercy? As my friend and I drove home last night I just remember sing along on the radio and the words were simply, "You are good. You are good" and it was those words that summed up my night of healing.